I am a writer, tutor, newly published author, and creative photographer. My blogs are about creativity in the written and visual form, and reviews of my book and the works of other authors that I like. I have just had my debut novel published 'Echoes from the Lost Ones' by Fable Press. It is the first book in the series, 'The Song of Forgetfulness' available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble. You can visit my website for more details:http://www.thesongofforgetfulness.com/
Echoes from the Lost Ones
Glimmer and other stories
A Silence Heard
The surf swirled around the man’s legs. He looked down and watched the hem of his trousers turn a darker shade of beige as the water seeped into the fabric. Foam hit his head and spread across his face like spittle. He wiped it off looked up at the sky and fell back spread eagled into the water.
Pulled by the ebb and flow he allowed the sea to play with his limp body and toss it this way and that. His limbs became heavy and he felt gravity tug at his arms and legs. Ready to sink down into the dark quiet of the ocean floor and resigned to his fate; the man opened his mouth to let the water in. But the sea became turbulent, as though angry at his acquiescence. And before he could inhale the salt and wet, a wave higher than a church hurled his sodden body onto the beach.
He lay face down and coughed up grit and bile. His eyelids, ears and lips were crusted in sand. He did not have the energy to wipe it off. Instead, he slowly rolled onto his back and sighed.
‘My, what a piece of flotsam we have here.’
The man squinted into the sunlight and saw a woman stand over him. She wore a yellow towel around her head, turban style, and a long cotton dress tied loosely at the waist. The wind caught at her flimsy clothes causing the fabric to billow out around her thickset body like the wings of a seagull trying to take off.
‘There now’, she said, unwrapped the headdress and held it out. He took it and rubbed his hair. When he had finished, she snatched the towel from him, paused for a moment, looked over her shoulder, then dug a hole with the heel of her shoe, and threw it in.
‘I’m guessing that you don’t want anyone to know where you've been?
‘No I don’t.
‘May I ask why?’
‘I’d prefer it if you didn’t.’ He lowered his head, saw that she hadn’t done a very good job of hiding the towel and began to scoop sand over it.
‘Don’t worry about that. The sea will take it and none will be the wiser.’
The man bit his lip to stop it trembling and tried to pull away from her intent stare, but he couldn’t. It was as if her eyes could see beyond his flesh. Beyond his expressionless face and into his deepest, darkest thoughts. He thought he smelled sulphur and jerked his head away from her gaze.
'These clothes aren’t mine.’ The man said, and held out his arms so that she could see the shortness of his sleeves.
‘Obviously. Unless they shrank from so much exposure to water.’
‘Was I in there for so long?’
‘I neither know nor care,’ the woman said and narrowed her eyes. ‘You have the look of the dispossessed about you.’
‘Apology accepted. Come with me.’
The woman walked towards a row of beach huts that stood in front of the red-hued cliffs. He got up and followed her like a lost dog; flinching each time he took a step. His shoes, too tight, pinched his toes and made a squelching sound. Soaked as they were from his dip in the briny. She stopped in front of a small wooden cabin that was elevated from the ground by four thick posts. It was whitewashed all over, except for the windows; which were painted to look like two giant eyes.
‘It keeps watch for me when I’m away. Shall we go in?’
He blinked, stared behind her at the crumbling rock face, and nodded his head.
‘This way,’ she said. And they climbed the wind torn splintered steps. ‘It's my home from home. To be honest, I think I spend more time here than anywhere else.’ The woman stopped at the top, and sucked in a lungful of air. ‘Nothing like this smell is there?’
His breath came out in uneasy gasps. She gestured for him to enter. The man took a step, but his legs began to shake and he paused at the threshold.
‘What’s the matter? Don’t you want to get warm and dry?’
‘Yes…no. Of course…it’s just that…’
He backed away, panting, dizzy. She pursed her lips and folded her arms. He saw her face loose its look of kindness, and felt his skin heat up.
‘Sorry, I’m a bit, claustrophobic. Your cabin, although as pretty as a butterfly, is on the small side and to be frank, I’ve had enough of confined spaces.’
‘Small! A tent is small. A kennel is small. The inside of a wren’s skull is small. This accommodation is not. This house, yes, house, is just the right size for my needs. Any larger and I would get lost trying to find my way out. But, if you believe it to be so tiny that your largeness would be jeopardised by its miniscule dimensions; then by all means feel free to recover elsewhere.’
The woman spun around and straightened her back. She put her hand upon a rusty metal handle, and pushed down hard. The door creaked as it opened and the man thought that he heard something sigh. A spider’s web stuck to her long black hair. She twisted it around her forefinger, flicked it into the air and stepped inside. He noticed that she did not close the door behind her, leant forward and peered into the shady interior.
Amidst the dust and shallow light, he saw an assortment of washed up junk heaped around the room. In the centre was a stack of used condoms and plastic coke bottles, fashioned in the shape of a rocking chair. To the right, under the window, a stack of dried seaweed lay on top of one another; like the shrivelled flesh of long dead corpses. To the left, where he saw the woman squatting, was a bundle of threadbare clothing.
She held up a large pair of black swimming trunks and poked her finger through a hole in the crotch. She wiggled her digit about and chuckled. He smiled too, took a deep breath and as cautious as a feral cat, entered the room.
‘Wipe your feet. Who brought you up?’ the woman said, dropped her swimsuit and stood.
‘Oh, right, sorry.’
'Don’t touch anything.’
The man inched his way over to a weather beaten piece of wood and sat.
‘So, what’s the story?’
‘Girl trouble? Boy trouble? Trouble, trouble? All three?’
Tears began to well up in his eyes. He closed them quickly, before the salty drops could escape.
‘Oh dear, have I been insensitive? Never mind. Let me introduce myself. I was christened Gladys. I know, what were my parents thinking? People call me Dys. It’s better than Glad that would be awful. And, you are?’
‘Do I have to tell you my real name?’
‘No. Maybe I should have said, “and, what do I call you?’’’
‘Right then, Ferdinand, make yourself useful will you. Here, see if you can find something colourful in this lot.’
Ferdinand parted his lips ready to say, ‘no thanks. I’ll just sit here and wallow in self pity,’ when his face was hit with a bundle of sea washed underwear. He let the clothing fall onto his lap and stared at the oddments. Then placed his fingers on the pile and picked through them as though they were precious jewels.
‘That’s a good fellow. You’ve got the hang of it. If I didn’t know better, and I don’t, I’d say that you have done this kind of thing before.’
‘No, I swear, this is my first time.’
‘You’re a natural’
‘How about this?’ he said, and held up a lime green bathing suit.
‘Marvellous. Throw it over.’
He did and Dys caught it in her left hand and twirled it in the air like a pizza base, then placed it on the ground. He watched as she pulled at the elasticated cloth until it resembled a streak of toxic waste. She grabbed the black trunks, bit and tore them until they took on a filigree appearance and placed them on top of the swimsuit.
‘Something else. It needs…’ she said, and stood over her creation.
Head tilted upwards, eyes and mouth closed; Dys hummed a strange melodic tune. She stepped onto the clothing and stomped her feet. The whole cabin shook. She stopped, knelt down and said, ‘voila! I think I shall call it, Arrested Suicide. In your honour. Should fetch about six grand. Since you helped, I shall share my fee and give you five hundred. Is that okay?’ Ferdinand’s mouth dropped open.
‘Excellent. Tell me, do you have anywhere to go? I presume your little outburst today was a one-off?’
‘Yes. I…I’ve not been out for a while and…I’ve lost everything.’
‘On the contrary, you have found me. Or maybe I found you. Either way, we make a great team. Want to sign up?’
‘For what exactly?’
‘For art, my dear, art. I create and sell sea sculpture from the rubbish that people throw into it. I make beauty from filth and rejection. Maybe you are my next project?’
Ferdinand stood and Dys walked towards him. She took his hand and held it against her stomach.
‘It comes from here. Do you feel it?’
He did not flinch or try to run away. Instead he pulled her close, wrapped his arms around her waist and hugged.
‘That would be a yes then?’
Ferdinand stayed where he was and listened to the waves call out his real name.
‘Let the sea take it,’ Dys said.
5 comments (click to read and post)
You don't have to sign up to Koobug - you can read all of the content on the site. However, if you'd like to comment or recommend books and posts, you'll need an account.
It's completely free to use, whether you are an author or reader.
All we need from you is your email address, which we'll use to send you an access link. You can then click on the link and choose your password and profile picture.
We will not disclose your email address to anyone else, or use it to send you spam.
Enter your email address into the box, and a password if you have one. If this is your first time here, or you can't remember your password, leave the box blank; we'll email you a temporary key.